Doug Jordan's Blog

July 18, 2017

See the cover on my Facebook Page:

AFS Publishing Canada
https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?...
2 likes ·   •  1 comment  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on July 18, 2017 08:41 • 64 views

July 17, 2017

I discovered today that reviews of my books (and presumably everybody else's!) are not cross-populated on other amazon sites.

My books (The Maxim Chronicles, The Dynamics of Management) have ten reviews on amazon.ca, and even though people can order my books through amazon.com none of the reviews show up there. It leaves me to wonder if someone (presumably in the USA) examining my book are discouraged from buying it because it has no track record there.

Similarly, reviews of my books on my printer/distributer (lulu.com) do not appear on amazon, which is understandable; neither do reviews on Goodreads. This is a shame because far more people know about amazon than they do lulu or Goodreads.

I wonder what is the practice at Barnes & Noble?

In any event, I'm no longer going to encourage people to use amazon to buy my books, or post reviews there. Shame really. It is hard enough promoting one's books and yet lose this channel.
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on July 17, 2017 11:40 • 246 views • Tags: amazon-ca

April 4, 2017

Without the original idea, and the first draft, there will never be a book. So that first draft is obviously fundamental.

But a book is never done in one draft, unless you have very low standards. Or perhaps you are a genius writer.

Editting and revision is the true heart of good writing, painful as it may be.

It's a good thing I have high standards in writing and that I have stamina, else I could easily get discouraged and abandon the project, and I have come close. I have an eye for the misplaced comma; on the other hand, I have a penchant for dashes which likely annoy other readers.

There are two problems with having high standards when it comes to critiquing one's own writing. One is arrogance and the other is humility. Arrogance because you like to think your writing is so effective that whatever you've got down has to be 'pretty good' as it is. Besides, since you put a lot of effort into that first draft you naturally have a sense of accomplishment, and you just want it over with. 'Pretty good' is 'good enough'.

But it isn't. So the humility pole kicks in and you begin the revision. And gag. What a load of crap. This is very sloppy, and redundant and repetitive and cliché-ed; and there again, another overworked phrase. Is that sentence bad form or delightful, if idiosyncratic, style? But then you find a few passages that are in fact pretty good, actually more than a few; and the story line seems to hang together rather well. Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water; we just need to rework this thing. The baby may be hard to find in all that red ink but it's worth saving.

With R1 completed you get that second wave of satisfaction from achievement. It is surely an improvement over the first draft. But the chastened ego now accepts that there is still more work to do.
So you print R1 and begin on R2. And it s slow work, and you continuously vacillate between self-congratulation and self-loathing.
And you are amazed at how much red ink you've now poured all over R1. Still, you have to agree, it is definitely improved.

The book has increased in size by about 10% which is interesting because you know you have stripped at least 5% out of the previous draft. Many professional editors believe in the principle of cutting. Everything can be improved by cutting. So when I see my labour of love has expanded to 110000 words from 98000 in the first draft I worry a bit. I know I've already cut many clumsy sentences, and redundant, usually tedious small words, and reworked them, briefer, crisper, and tried to use better vocabulary. I've come to squirm at the blue double underlines MS Word offers every time I begin a sentence with So. Is that 'so' a logical necessity, an unnecessary connective construction, or a mere vocalization. This is a common problem when writing in the first person; you seek a more conversational style and 'so', you find yourself writing as you would talk. It usually makes for a more readable style, so long as you don't overdo it and expose yourself for a poor conversationalist as well as a poor writer. (Reread this blog and take note of the number of times I used 'so'. Were they necessary usage? clumsy?, irritating? Still?)

But now I'm ready to 'share' my project with others; or maybe I'm growing bored and impatient to be done. I am a long way from being done and the next steps involve my Agent/Editor and my Illustrator. We need to go through the whole document and decide whether it flows, has internal structure, and where illustrations would augment the narrative, and yet not overdo it, or put too many demands on the illustrator. I print R2 in draft format, 3 copies, complete with Table of Contents, and also an R2a version to see what it looks like in 6*9 page size, right hand justified, 1.15 line spacing. I wonder what it will look like with wider margins, 10 point Times New Roman instead of 12 pitch.

I remind myself that some writers (the serious ones anyway) spend weeks doing revisions, months, years even. I'm too impatient for that. Hemingway was a ruthless editor of his own work, he of the minimalist school, but how long did it take him to decide it was time to let it go? I suppose seasoned journalists used to working with tight deadlines are more efficient than most other writers. Mark Twain was a journalist too. How many drafts did he take with Tom Sawyer?

I've been at the The Hallelujah Chorus, sequel to The Maxim Chronicles since August of 2016. I've given myself until 2017 June to finish it.

I take heart from Twain and Hemingway and press on.

Yet I still want it to be 'good'. Not just 'good enough'.
1 like ·   •  1 comment  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 04, 2017 11:33 • 220 views • Tags: the-maxim-chronicles

March 17, 2017

For me, writing is comparatively easy. Ideas float round in my mind and then, when I face the screen and address the keyboard, they begin to tumble out of my fingers and onto an electronic drive.
I'm a poor typist and have to fix many errors as I go. I rationalize this as a natural way to fix poor composition at the same time.
The hard part is overcoming the gag reflex as you reread the stuff you just wrote.
But you accept it as a necessary first step and settle in to edit your future masterpiece.
You print a copy of your draft, proof-read with red pen and modify, revise, augment, adjust, rearrange, get discouraged, then resolve to carry on. Produce revised draft.
Repeat.
Maybe half a dozen times.
Finally you have the courage to give your R6 version to close trusted family and friends. Encourage them to give candid feedback.
Try not to be too defensive when they do.
Accept their input, or not, and work on R7.
Send a copy to your literary agent and hold your breath. If you are self-publishing this should be easy. But it's not.
Get to work on R8.
Enough, time to upload to your Press Company and order your test copy.
Breathe a sigh of satisfaction to see your book as an actual book!
Cringe as you discover errors. Start on R9. Naturally the errors lead to more revisions – you know you should have written that scene differently.
Upload R9 to your press. Wait for next test copy.
Review, one more time. It looks good. You can't face yet another revision, nevertheless you ask your literary agent to give it one more look. Ah, green light.
Take a deep breath, and maybe a shot of whisky, and press Publish.
Now the really had work begins:
Trying to overcome a disinterested black hole that a new creation is seeking the light.
1 like ·   •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on March 17, 2017 10:23 • 223 views • Tags: writing-publishing